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Reddit Cares Abuse

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Updated May 15, 2024 at 02:38PM EDT by Zach.

Added May 15, 2024 at 12:22PM EDT by Adam.

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Content Warning: Portions of this article make mention of suicide, which some may find difficult or upsetting. If you need support or are dealing with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's website or call 1-800-273-8255.


Reddit Cares Abuse refers to a controversial practice among Redditors of reporting users they are in an argument with to Reddit's mental health safety service, "Reddit Cares," resulting in Reddit sending the reported user links to mental health hotlines and services (normally used for instances of potential self-harm). Since being noticed in early 2022, this trolling method has been interpreted as harassment akin to telling a Redditor they need mental health services or should harm themselves without directly using abusive language. The practice has become popularized and been discussed in communities with ardent fandoms, such as those for K-pop and basketball, and users have discussed how to report users who abuse the feature. In May 2024, users reported a significant uptick in reports across the site, leading to speculation that a bot was created to abuse the feature.


On March 4th, 2020, Reddit announced that it would be instituting a mental health safety check for users to report when they fear a user is displaying signs of or expressing intent to self-harm,[1] and it was implemented on March 10th. The system allows a user to flag a comment for signs of self-harm, leading Reddit to send that commenter a private message with links to mental health services, such as the Crisis Text Line (message shown below).

There are people and resources here for you from RedditCareResources [A] 3 minutes ago Hi there, A concerned redditor reached out to us about you. When you're in the middle of something painful, it may feel like you don't have a lot of options. But whatever you're going through, you deserve help and there are people who are here for you. • Text CHAT to Crisis Text Line at 741741. You'll be connected to a Crisis Counselor from Crisis Text Line, who is there to listen and provide support, no matter what your situation is. It's free, confidential, and available 24/7. If you'd rather talk to someone over the phone or chat online, there are additional resources and people to talk to. Find Someone Now If you think you may be depressed or struggling in another way, don't ignore it or brush it aside. Take yourself and your feelings seriously, and reach out to someone. It may not feel like it, but you have options. There are people available to listen to you, and ways to move forward. Your fellow redditors care about you and there are people who want to help. If you think you may have gotten this message in error, report this message. To stop receiving messages from u/RedditCareResources, reply "STOP" to this message.

Reports of the system being abused in internet arguments began appearing roughly two years after it was implemented. On January 7th, 2022, Redditor MelissaWebb asked on the /r/kpophelp subreddit about why they kept seeing it mentioned in K-pop-related subs.[2] User flawedconstellation explained:

ppl send the messages to others when they disagree with another person’s comments in the same way a Twitter fanwar would have someone dm you “go kys “. This is just an edgier way of saying that through faux concern and a snarky remark of “you need help for your messed up mindset”.


As the practice spread, users began to share ways to report those who abused the feature and prevent themselves from receiving messages from Reddit Cares. On March 29th, 2022, Redditor Strike_Gently, a mod of the wrestling-focused subreddit /r/SquaredCircle,[3] posted that users could block the account that sends Reddit Cares messages to prevent themselves from receiving its automated message.

They also pointed out that the message has a link where users can report abuse. If a user reports abuse, Reddit should send an automated response that details who flagged the comment. This allows Redditors to report that account for abusing the Reddit Cares system (shown below).

Report reason: Harassment Submitted on: 03/23/2022 at 10:41 AM UTC Reported account(s): RedditCareResources, reporter username Link to reported content: https:// This is an automated message; responses will not be received by Reddit admins. reddit 35m

The practice of Reddit Cares abuse saw a wave of discussion in May 2024, with questions about the practice appearing in multiple subreddits, including /r/reddithelp,[4] /r/twoxchromosomes[5] and /r/OutOfTheLoop,[6] to name a few.

In the /r/OutOfTheLoop thread about the topic, users speculated that the abuse may be the work of a bot, noting that seemingly all users of certain popular subreddits such as /r/GME were receiving the DM almost instantly after posting comments. Other users reported getting hit with it instantly after posting apolitical comments on apolitical topics. One user reported, "I just got one instantly after posting a comment about how cute thresher sharks are lmao. So seems to just be a weird bot wave."

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